When deciding upon how you are going to create your altar there are many things to consider. Since your altar will most likely be the center point of your magical workings, it's important that you make it so that it fits your needs; this is the first step. I would suggest making a list of the qualities you would want in an Altar almost as if you are buying a house. Do you want a large workspace, does it need to be portable, can you keep it set up or does it need to be stored when not in use, do you want storage, etc?
Finding An Altar
After you have completed your "wish list," it's time to go look for something that will satisfy most of your needs. What you could do first is go out into the forest and look at your surroundings. One of the simplest altars and sometimes the best are large, flat stones. Although primitive, they give you a sturdy work surface and give off the feeling of nature. If stones aren't for you, try using wood. Find a long strip of bark or a stump which both can be used as a slab to work on.
If you prefer something a little bit more advanced, you could use the dining room table in your house, a folding table, a blanket, a yoga mat, etc. Really anything that you already have or that is cheap and easy to purchase.
Now, if you have some more expensive tastes, you could look at purchasing an altar. You could buy a desk, drawers, dresser, nightstand; really any furniture. You could also buy a pre-made altar table from an occult store.
As a note, when you are looking for your altar you might want to incorporate wood and color correspondences if that is something you are willing to do. Furthermore, some people say that your altar should face a certain direction but since it is your alter, you should choose whatever feels right to you or fits your circumstances. Also, typically your altar is meant just for your magical workings, however, if your altar is the kitchen table then obviously it will be used for other things as well. This just means you'll have to cleanse your area more.
Decorating Your Altar
Now that you have your altar you?ll need to decorate it to express yourself as well as provide a placement for your magical supplies. If you are resourceful then I would suggest slowly accumulating things for your alter throughout your life. For example, my aunt gave me these small animal statues that came in her tea boxes and I put them on my altar to represent spirit animals. A great way to get supplies is by browsing your local thrift & dollar stores; I guarantee you will find something useful. Now although nothing is required I would say that you should eventually aim to have:
- An altar cloth (You can just get a normal table cover and draw symbols on it)
- Statues or Symbols (You can use modeling clay)
- Tools such as an Athame, Besom, Candles, Pentacle Tile, Chalice, Bell & Wand
- Nature stuff such as herbs, flowers, seeds, leaves, etc.
- Mundane tools such as a lighter, wet cloth (to clean up spills), etc.